Yoga for generalized anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Research studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that the regular practice of Yoga is beneficial for individuals who experience symptoms of generalized anxiety. The regular practice of specific yogic postures or breathing techniques change brain activity resulting in a state of alert calmness. Training in a particular style of yoga called Sudarshan kriya yoga involves a specialized breathing technique that decreases serum cortisol, the major stress hormone in humans.

Individuals diagnosed with any anxiety disorder improve significantly when they combine a daily yoga practice with relaxation and mindfulness training. Research studies show that regular Yoga practice reduces the level of anxiety in individuals with high blood pressure and epilepsy and reduces test anxiety in students. Limited research findings suggest that regular yoga practice may reduce the need for prescription medications in individuals who struggle with generalized anxiety. The findings of a small study showed that the regular practice of a specific Kundalini yoga left-nostril breathing technique may significantly reduce symptom severity in patients diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

You can find out more about yoga and other safe and effective complementary and alternative treatments of anxiety and learn practical tips for using them in “Anxiety: the Integrative Mental Health Solution,” by James Lake M.D.

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